This is a concise update of what has gone on in the past week and a half in Germany. The events are by no means in the correct order.
Snowed. Hanane and Geoffrey returned (for break) to France; we were sad -- but I see them again in two months. Snow, rain. Joanna and Ula leave within one day of each other; I was very sad -- but I see them again at the end of the month. I get sick as a result of going out with wet hair. Snow, snow, sun-rain-RAIN-sun-cloudy. I go, still sick, with the Tutoring Family to watch the Faschingsumzug (=parade). Candy, matches, confetti, and packets of tissues are thrown at me; I collect an adequate amount of candy, but share a lot with the Tutoring Family's boys and with the toddler in the stroller next to me, because I realize I am a 20 year old student scrambling on the sidewalk to gather whatever comes my way. I am a squirrel who *should have* outgrown the gathering mechanism. The Boys complain about the cold, and that the parade isn't all that fun or exciting (this was before it had even started). The older one, the one I tutor, says, "The Prunksitzung is better." The younger one agrees. Neither of them were at the Prunksitzung. I briefly wonder if they've ever been. Andi's parents come, they go travel, they come back. Kathy goes home for a few weeks. Hanane comes back for the weekend; we rejoice. Efi leaves; we are sad. Hanane goes back home to France; it is a somber moment, but she'll probably be back (once again) sooner than expected. I go to Heidelberg to buy candles that burn for 90 hours and cannot be found anywhere else, and to eat a REAL piece of New York Cheese Cake at Starbucks. I feel dirty doing this, but clever because even though the guy behind the counter expects everyone to be American (he greets everyone with "Hi!!"), I do my ordering (and order corrections...I SAID CHEESECAKE!!!!) in German. Rain, rain, rain. Tutoring is cancelled for an afternoon because the kid has "durchfall" (=diarrhea; thanks, Tutoring Mother, for letting me know that detail. I'm sure I appreciate it as much as your teenage son does). I go shopping for food; the woman standing in front of me in line puts beer, pudding, and depends on the counter. I feel weirded-out because I feel like this is something I don't want to remember. She asks me to help get a travel-sized bottle of vodka down from the display next to us -- it is possible she wants to forget it as well. Snow, rain, hail-y rain, snow. I receive an early-morning phone call asking if I've ordered "blahblahblah BOX." I do not understand what's going on until the man on the line asks if my name is Frau Mokowska. I say it is not, but that I now know what the hell he's talking about (Joanna ordered a card-box from a store before leaving, and I agreed to pick it up when it was ready. The man who called to let me know the item was ready, however, neither stated the name of the store, nor who he was calling for. I was, naturally, confused.) I pick up Joanna's notecard-box. I look at it when I get home; I get jealous and want one, too. I decide I can hold out. I go to Neustadt with the hope of buying something -- anything -- but return home empty-handed. I understand it's for the best. I alternate walking through mud and snow -- mud because THAT'S THE ONLY SAFE, NON-ICY PLACE TO WALK, and snow because it cleans the mud off of my shoes -- to get to the library to write this. My shoes are soaking, but clean. I write this. My left arm goes half numb as I do so.